ALTHOUGH the UK variant of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has claimed an 84-year-old man from Benguet, the Department of Health is not inclined to declare a community transmission of the deadlier variant pending a deeper probe and evaluation.
In a virtual press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that out of the 25 confirmed UK variant cases in the country, only two are active cases with unknown linkages to other similar cases.
“So far, we have two cases with no links established. Further investigation is still required before we can confirm this. We have to be very careful when we declare this (community transmission),” said Vergeire.
“We do the investigation first to see if there are linkages to other cases and we can be certain,” she added.
“When you talk about community transmission, this means cases are really scattered in the area, and have no linked sources of infections,” said Vergeire.
On Friday, the DOH reported eight additional COVID-19 cases positive for the B.1.1.7 variant (UK variant).
Of the new cases, the DOH said the link of a 31-year-old male from Bontoc, Mountain Province to the previous Bontoc cluster is still being verified.
The agency said the 84-year-old man from La Trinidad, Benguet who died last January 24 had no known history of travel or contact with any UK variant case. He died last January 24.
The DOH reported 1,690 new cases yesterday, raising the total number of infections in the country to 538,995, plus 52 more deaths.
Overall, the total number of fatalities has reached 11,231 for a 2.08 case fatality rate.
There were 23 new recoveries, meaning the number of survivors now total 499,772.
There remained 27,992 active cases, of which 88.5 percent are mild cases, 5.4 percent asymptomatic cases, 2.8 percent critical cases, 2.7 percent severe cases, and 0.63 percent moderate cases.
The number of overseas Filipinos infected with the deadly virus continued to climb as 22 more were added to the list, the Department of Foreign Affairs said. The number of overseas Filipinos infected with the virus rose to 14,491 with 9,140 having recovered, leaving 4,397 still under treatment.
No new deaths were reported by its embassies and consulates, the DFA added.
A female cop has died of COVID-19, bringing to 30 the number of police personnel dying from the deadly virus, the PNP said.
PNP Deputy Chief for administration and concurrent ASCOTF chief Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said the 32-year-old fatality succumbed to acute respiratory distress syndrome secondary to COVID-19 pneumonia.
The policewoman was last assigned with the National Capital Region Police Office, performing administrative work.
Eleazar also reported 50 new cases in the PNP, increasing the number of policemen who contracted the virus at 10,481 as of Sunday night, with 9,888 having recovered, 563 active cases and 30 deaths.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said 32 barangays in the city registered no new cases in the past four months, earning a big praise from the city government which is encouraging barangays to maximize their efforts to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
Moreno made the announcement as he awarded certificates to 259 barangays in the city with no new infection for the months of December and January. The 32 were among the 259 barangays cited.
Of the 259 barangays, 49 are in District 1, 48 in District 2, 32 in District 3, 61 in District 4, 36 in District 5 and 33 in District 6. Manila has a total of 897 barangays. – With Ashzel Hachero and Victor Reyes